Ten Things All New Pet Owners Should Know

1. Your pet needs to go to the vet. Start saving now.
Every pet needs to be examined by a vet occasionally. Illnesses that are caught early are often treatable, and regular vet exams are your best weapon. Even the healthiest pet may have an accident, calling for immediate emergency care. Older pets may be in pain from age-related deterioration. Face it, you're going to have to take your pet to the vet sooner or later. Be prepared to pay for it!

2. You're the human, you set the rules.

Don't let your pet boss you around. Decide on the rules, and enforce them consistently. Don't let your pet get his way if it goes against the rules -- he'll just try that much harder the next time. Animals may not seem to have long memories, but they sure remember how they got their own way the last time!

3. Animals love a boring routine.

Pets want to know what to expect -- it makes them feel secure. Yours will be happiest if they are fed at the same time every day, sleep in the same spot at night, and can count on you to always come home at a certain time. They'll get by if the routine occasionally changes, but keeping their day predictable keeps them predictable, and happy.

4. Good food and lots of exercise equals a long life.
We all know we should eat healthy foods in moderation and get plenty of exercise. The same goes for our pets. Healthy living prevents illness, and you won't have to see the vet as often! If a small pet is confined to a cage, give it lots of space and things to climb on or explore, to encourage exercise. Reserve treats like dog biscuits for very special occasions.

5. Everything ends up in their mouths.
To you it's an electrical cord, but to your dog, it's a chew toy. Keep in mind that your pets will chew on anything, and keep dangerous items out of reach! Encourage them to chew on toys instead by providing lots of them, especially new ones once the old ones have lost their appeal.

6. Bacteria do not make good pets.

A clean environment keeps everyone happy and healthy. Pets are dirty, and need lots of cleaning. On a weekly basis, brush your dog's teeth, wash out the gerbil's water bottle, and scoop out the cat's litter box! If you don't, you're in for bacterial and parasitic infections, painful tooth decay, and the smell!

7. Tight security saves lives.

Keep your pet confined safely. Escape-proof all cages and fences, walk your dog on a leash, and keep your cat indoors. The outside world is full of speeding cars, unfamiliar animals, pesticides, and even pet thieves. Also, lost pets without tags usually end up being put to sleep at the shelter when they lose their way home. So, just in case, make certain all dogs and cats have sturdy collars with tags, or have been tattooed or micro-chipped.

8. A tired dog is a good dog.
Daily walks and fun romps in the backyard not only provide good physical exercise for your dog (and you!), but they also provide mental stimulation. A bored dog with pent-up energy, can lead to troubles. You will be pleasantly surprised by the difference a daily walk makes in your dog's behavior. If you are unable to walk your dog yourself (due to work schedule, illness, injury, etc.) ... hire a professional dog walker ... it will be money well spent!

9. Training, training, and more training.
Second to strays, owner surrender due to misbehaving dogs is the next reason most dogs end up in shelters. They may be a cute and funny little thing now, but a grown dog that jumps-up on folks, or that still potties in the house is not so cute. Start training early, and be consistent, so that that cute puppy becomes a wonderful dog.

10. It all depends on you!!
Ultimately, when you accepted this animal as a pet, you agreed to take care of him/her for the rest of their lives. This means feeding, habitat, health, safety, training ... you are responsible for it all. It takes a lot of time and money to care for a pet properly. However, it is certainly worth it! There are over 100 million households worldwide with at least one pet, and they can't all be wrong! Take care of your pets, so you can have a long, enjoyable life together.

Oh, and don't forget ... Hugs & Kisses ... if you own a dog like me, like it or not, lots of wiggle-butts & slobbery kisses come with life with a Boxer! =o)

date Thursday, December 30, 2010


Dr. Scott McKay with DrsFosterSmith.com 


Topics Include:

  • Frostbite: What are the signs of frostbite and what should I do if I suspect my pet has frostbite?
  • Paw Care: How do I take care of my dog’s feet in the cold?
  • Nutritional modifications that help during cold weather.
  • Extra Layers: Should I dress my dog for cold weather? 
  • Exercise: Is it ever too cold to take my dog for a walk? If so, how do I exercise exercise my dog indoors?
  • Hypothermia: Is there a danger of hypothermia for dogs, and how cold is too cold for outdoor dogs?

Very helpful and informative video ... big thanks to DrsFosterSmith.com!



Edited to add: 

~ Don't forget to keep an eye out for antifreeze—many dogs love the taste of this lethal liquid. Do not allow your dog to lick any liquids when outside, or in the garage ... because it may have antifreeze in it. Also, make sure to rinse-off  your dog's paws, legs, & belly after a walk, in case they walked in any antifreeze (or got road salt on them) ... if they lick their paws afterward they can be poisoned.  If your dog ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, take him to the vet immediately.

~ If you have a small breed, puppy or a short-hair breed ... invest in a coat or sweater that covers your doggie  to the base of his tail and under his belly (many do not). Booties are a paw-saver, too!

~ For rough, dry or cracked paw pads, try Mushers Secret or PETfection Paw Cream.  These are great products for paw care.

~ Puppies, short-haired dogs, and cats should be brought inside when the temp falls below 40F, all other pets when it is 20F or colder. For those pets that are kept outdoors, make sure to check their water bowl frequently and break the ice , if necessary, so that they have access to clean, fresh water.

~ Don't forget to slap-the-hood! Cats, and other critters, are attracted by the warm car engine and may curl-up under your car hood to take a nap.  Make sure to slap the hood of your car before starting it, so as to awaken any critters that may be hidden in there.

~ Lastly, do not let your doggies run off-leash in an unfenced area. The heavy snowfall can obliterate familiar scents and dogs can become disoriented and easily lost.

Hope you are enjoying the Winter Wonderland! =o)

date Tuesday, December 28, 2010



Small turtles are a source of a disease called salmonellosis in humans. Salmonellosis is an infection of the intestines caused by bacteria called Salmonella. Symptoms of the disease may include diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. Symptoms begin in 6 to 72 hours (usually 12 to 36 hours) after a person is exposed to Salmonella, and they generally last for 2 to 7 days.

Anyone can get Salmonella infection, but the risk is highest in infants and young children as well as the elderly, and people who have lowered natural resistance to disease due to pregnancy, cancer, chemotherapy, organ transplants, diabetes, liver problems, or other diseases.

Salmonella are naturally occurring bacteria in turtles and those with Salmonella usually do not appear sick in any way. In addition, turtles do not shed Salmonella all of the time. So, just because a turtle might have one negative test for Salmonella doesn’t mean that they are not infected. It could mean that the turtle was not shedding Salmonella on the day it was tested.

The sale of turtles with a carapace* length of less than 4 inches has been banned in the U.S. since 1975 because of the public health impact of turtle-associated salmonellosis. This regulation is enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in cooperation with State and local health jurisdictions. Experts estimate that the regulation has prevented about 100,000 cases of salmonellosis per year. However, there has been an increase in the sale of turtles in recent years.

Alert to parents and other persons responsible for the care of children:
  • The sale of small turtles for pets is illegal.
  • Be alert for turtles in petting zoos, parks, child day care facilities, or other locations where children may be.
  • If you come in contact or handle turtles or their housing, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

*Thick shell that covers the back of a turtle.

Article courtesy of:

Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine
7519 Standish Place, HFV-12, Rockville, Maryland 20855
Telephone: (240) 276-9300 FAX: (240) 276-9115

If you LOVE horses, and LOVE watching movies ... here is a list "to die for":

Horse Movies of the 1940′s
Horse Movies of the 1950′s
Horse Movies of the 1960′s
Horse Movies of the 1970′s
Horse Movies of the 1980′s
Horse Movies of the 1990′s
Horse Movies of the 21st Century

*A big thanks to The Equinest for compiling such an awesome list!

What is your favorite horse movie???

date Monday, December 27, 2010


Some dogs and cats eat waaaaay more than just pet food, according to Brea, California-based company Veterinary Pet Insurance’s “60 Most Unusual Ingested Objects” for 2010. The list, which included oddities such as jellyfish, jumper cables and a hearing aid, was derived from the company’s nearly 2,000 foreign body ingestion claims for the year.

Socks, hand towels, sticks and rocks were especially popular pet “snack” choices. Some pets ate multiple unusual items, such as the one that ingested an estrogen patch and a make-up brush.

In random order, VPI’s 60 most unusual ingested objects removed from dogs & cats bellies are:

  • jellyfish
  • glue
  • estrogen patch/make-up brush
  • tube of denture adhesive
  • dead poisoned vole
  • bikini
  • ink pen
  • plastic nose from teddy bear
  • magnetic purse clasps
  • baseball
  • glass Christmas ornament
  • hearing aid
  • bed sheet
  • box of pencils
  • popsicle stick
  • avocado pit
  • dental floss
  • coffee filter/coffee grounds
  • fishhook
  • pain relief tablet/B.B.pellet/highlighter
  • tent door
  • toy squeaker
  • watch
  • 16 steel wool pads
  • pseudoephedrine/sponge/snail poison/tampon
  • 20 cherry pits
  • light bulb
  • barbecue brush
  • Frisbee
  • jumper cables
  • razor blades
  • uncooked rice (1 pound)
  • wallpaper paste
  • squirrel
  • balloon ribbons
  • bird (whole)
  • butter/sand
  • deer antler (partial)
  • extension cord
  • leash/3 sticks of butter
  • pin cushion
  • portion of wool rug
  • tobacco
  • TV remote control
  • 10 quarters, one penny, one Canadian coin, three arcade tokens
  • foot-long submarine sandwich
  • fire log
  • wooden toy train
  • pine cone
  • round chew bone (whole)
  • caulk
  • eye glasses
  • money (paper)
  • oil-soaked dirt
  • sand
  • rosary crucifix
  • 25 to 30 soiled diapers
  • bath bubble mix
  • bathtub cleaner/outdoor plants
  • duck bone

VPI noted that all pets made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses (got to love pet insurance!). Collectively, VPI policyholders spent almost $3 million treating pets that ingested such foreign objects.

Sooooooo ... what's your pet's favorite "snack"?  Please feel free to share your stories!


Hey, Infiniti .... I am not seeing compost pile on the list ... guess it  was number 61 ... hehehe. ;-)

date Sunday, December 26, 2010


This has now become our family holiday classic ... enjoy!

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours,
~ Zena

date Friday, December 24, 2010


My heart is breaking ... our sweet, sweet Sheba passed away last evening ...

Just a tad short of 12 years old, Sheba was a grand ole' gal ... truly a queen ... a beauty in every way.

She was a quiet girl. An ever present family member, but never intrusive. Always wanted to be a part of everything, but never pushy about it. She was very easy going, and was a friend to all. She loved rides in the car, going places, cheese, cuddling on the blanket with us, going for walks with "Dad", playing with her toys, and LOVED helping to unwrap gifts ... gently taking the edge of the paper and peeling it away, never harming the gift or eating the paper ... she will be so, so missed when we all open gifts next week.

Sheba was soooo smart, a fast learner, and very obedient. She could be fully trusted to never harm or destroy anything in the house or car. It was "her" home, and she treated everything respectfully. She house-trained easily, and never intentionally pottied in the house. This was probably one of the hardest parts of her illness ... she hated that she had "accidents", and did not like being watched while she pottied outside (which she had to endure since her hind quarters had to be supported by us).

She was a "girlie" girl ... she did not like her feet getting dirty or wet, and took pride in being well groomed. She loved wearing her sweater, and her collar ... and tolerated her Christmas Santa hat. She hated the rain, and was terrified of storms ... we always knew when bad weather was on the way, because Sheba would try to herd us all down in to the basement where it was "safe".

Sheba was a great mom to Billy and Zena, and they seem lost today without her. She taught them well how to be good Boxers. She always let them have the best of everything (treats, toys, sleeping spot, etc.) ... however, they both respected her and knew, if she wanted to be, she was the Boss.

The photo above is one of the few full-on photos we have of Sheba ... she HATED having her picture taken. Many of the photos we have are of the back of her head.

Sheba loved life ... happy, and trying to play with her toys, right up to the end. She was so beautiful ... inside & out ... a beautiful Boxer ... a sweet ole' soul.

Final hugs & kisses were given to each other (one on Mom's cheek) ... teary good-byes said ... cheese treats and one last long car ride ... a short stop at the vet's ... cuddled in Dad's loving arms in the back of "her" truck, being lovingly stroked by all, she fell asleep one last time ...

We knew the end was quickly approaching for our sweet Sheba, and thought we were "prepared" ... guess we were wrong about that one. The pain & grief is so much stronger than I had expected. She was such a major part of our lives, that there is this "hollowness" in our home & hearts today. So many of the major events in our lives have had Sheba present in them.

You were greatly loved, our sweet, sweet, Sheba .... and you will be so greatly missed ... rose


date Wednesday, December 15, 2010


date Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Bailey in Ward, Colorado (8,700' elevation) during a blizzard in the late 1990's;
a local weatherman said it was the most measureable snow (if memory serves, it was 54" in 48 hours).

I just LOVE this video ... makes me smile everytime I watch it!

For those of you that missed it, 
we sure had a good time packing all the K-9 Care Packages yesterday!

A big THANK YOU to all who gave items, donated monies, 
wrote notes & Christmas cards,
and/or helped pack boxes.

As you can see by the pictures above & below, folks were very generous.

We have a total of 14 (fourteen) Care Packages to mail out to Military K-9 teams. 


There is just one more thing, besides finishing all the custom's forms (ugh!), 
that we need ...

We need monies to pay for the shipping.
It costs $12.50 to ship EACH box.

We have set-up special accounts at the bank & Paypal for "Operation K-9 Care Package", 
and have made a DONATE button for folks to easily donate monies online
via Credit Card, Debit Card, or PayPal.

For those wishing to send a check, click HERE for the address. 
Please make check out to "Operation K-9 Care Package".  Thank you!

We are at the cut-off date for getting the boxes to the Military K-9 teams before Christmas, so any monies you can donate ASAP would be great. We will mail each box as we get enough money to cover it. Any monies leftover will go towards future K-9 Care Packages.

Thank you for your generosity!

Boxer Hugs to All,


Six (6) K9 Care Package have been mailed ...YEAH!!! =o)  We have 8 more waiting for a sponsor to pay for shipping, so that they can be sent on their way to their Military Working Dog team.

Better late, than never ... right? 

Maybe we can keep this project rolling through-out the year and make these Valentine's, Memorial, July 4th, Labor Day, etc. care packages ... and show our K-9 soldiers some LOVE year-round!?! ♥ =o)


date Monday, December 6, 2010


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except a wild-eyed Boxer named Mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Not knowing the fawn and furry Boxer would soon be there.

The Lab and Kitty cat were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of secret treasures danced in the Boxer's head.
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had no idea the Boxer was getting ready to pull all of this crap.

When downstairs I heard such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Down the stairs I flew like a flash,
But the Boxer had already tore open the presents and was having a bash.

He lay their proud of himself as he chewed the fake snow.
I looked back down at the damage below.
When, what to my tired eyes should appear,
But the Boxer had decided to get up and eat our plastic reindeer.

With a hint of innocence, he was so lively and quick,
I thought it was a dream and gave myself a prick.
More rapid than a bear, his terror had already came,
And I shouted and called him a few choice names.

"Now, Mouse! ... I asked him to listen, but off he went!
Around the house I chased him until I was totally bent!
To the top of the stairs! Around the wall!
He dashed away, dashed away ... like he was laughing at us all!

His eyes full of joy-- how they twinkled! How merry!
His cheeks puffed out from the mouth full of paper, me so mad I turned red like a cherry!
The drool from his mouth dripped down in a steady flow,
And his chin white with toy stuffing looked like snow.

The ornament he held tight in his teeth,
Was just a preview of the damage as he tore down the wreath.
Glancing up into the kitchen I seen the eaten Santa doll with the little round belly,
He even ate our Christmas grape jelly!

It was just so much to take in, a right jolly night itself,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon let me to know I had a lot more to dread.

He barked not a sound, but went straight to his work,
Ripped down all the stockings ...with one jerk,
And laying his paw aside his nose,
And giving a nod, up the Tree he rose.

He tore down the tree, making a sound almost like a whistle,
And down it came, breaking our crystal.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he ran out of sight ...


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*~*~*~*~

date Saturday, December 4, 2010



I am one of those folks who never wins anything.  Imagine my surprise when I opened my email and saw  "Many thanks for your entry in DogTipper.com's weekly giveaway; your entry was selected at random as our winner!" Who? Me? I had to re-read it a few times before it sunk in ... I really won! 

I know some may be saying "Oh, a book ... OK", and not understand my excitement. But for me, this was the perfect book, at the perfect time. Our almost 12 year old Boxer is suffering with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), a heartbreaking disease, similar to MS in humans. I am really struggling with many aspects of what she is going through.  So, I am very excited to see what advice I might glean from this book.

It's amazing what a big difference winning a little book can make, when one is walking through the Valley.

Thanks DogTipper!

date Friday, December 3, 2010

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